Lowry and Ponnuru are right about one thing: liberal love for the United States is complicated by criticism. And that appears to be something the right simply cannot abide, or perhaps even understand. How else to explain the bizarre passage of their essay in which Lowry and Ponnuru slam President Obama for failing to “defend the country’s honor” when a foreign critic “brought up the Bay of Pigs” during an overseas trip?
Apparently “acknowledging that America has been a force for good” in the world, as Obama did, is not enough. The man who leads the nation that is by almost any measure indisputably the most powerful on earth must go furtherto make a fool of himself and the country by defending an escapade from half-a-century ago that nearly everyone acknowledges was an embarrassing blunder. But that’s not all. According to Lowry and Ponnuru, he must also robustly defend American exceptionalismand thus American moral superioritybefore foreign audiences, evidently because it’s the president’s duty to provoke anger and resentment, and thus opposition to our global leadership, around the world.